Monday, April 29, 2013

Cloud Cult at First Avenue 4/28/13

Not sure where to begin with this review. I took no pictures last night as I didn’t want to interrupt the moment. I wanted to just be in the beauty of the show and not worry about writing up a blog post about it later and needing a good picture that visualizes what I am writing about.

Cloud Cult is a band I fell in love with 6 or 7 years ago after their album Advice From the Happy Hippopotamus came out and I heard the simplisticly beautiful song “Transistor Radio”. I was immediately smitten. Their songs are orchestral, yet folky, industrial, yet rock. They perfectly combine every element of the rock music world seamlessly. And they are positive. Uplifting. They make it a point to show you that the world is a beautiful place – even in its most heartbreaking. Yet, it is never cheesy or corny. Just beautiful.

I love this band with all of my being, yet sometimes I forget to listen to them. And then I see them live and I’m just left awestruck. They are such a force. They play with complete engagement. Each and every person on stage (and there are 8 of them) is completely into the performance and gives it 100%. And the audience was one of the best I’d ever been a part of. I guess when you sing songs geared towards being positive, the jerks stay away. Everyone around me was completely into it, singing along with such earnestness. Usually people screaming along next to me really bugs me, but not last night. Maybe because everyone seemed to be singing along when they should. Cloud Cult is a sing along kind of band, too.

I always cry at Cloud Cult shows, too, and last night was no different. When they went ahead and played “Transistor Radio” (which I’d never heard them do live before) and dedicated it to their sound man whose grandmother had died that day, I knew the tears were coming soon. But it was when they followed it with “When Water Comes to Life” that I started to lose it. That song just breaks me. Just go listen to it (really cool fan made video below).

That was followed by “The Man Jumped Out the Window”, which is one of their songs that I never really paid much attention to, but last night – after the two songs that preceded it – I think it might have moved up to one of my top songs of theirs.

Then there’s the song “There’s So Much Energy In Us” – which might be the most beautiful song about dying that I’ve ever heard (at least that’s my take on the song – but I think it has way more meaning to it than that – video below. Once again, just listen). The whole place sang along and you could tell everyone was just – I don’t know – feeling something. I tried to sing along but I just kept getting choked up so I had to stop.

Seeing Cloud Cult live, for me, is as close to going to church and having a religious awakening that I’ll ever experience. You see them and you want to be a better person. You want to take all the ideas they present and put them out there into the world. And all they are really getting at is just to be good to each other and enjoy the days you are given.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Friday At Acadia

My day started with the not good news that my drummer was leaving the band. It bums me out. I like the guy and he's a fantastic drummer. But what are you gonna do? Most people in the local music scene are in several bands. He was in 4, I think. I get it. Something had to go. But I can't deny that I'm not bummed, though I was also not naive enough to think that my quartet was going to be the same forever. People come and go from bands all the time.

But we had a show last night at Acadia and Shawn and I played and it was all fine. Since it was the two of us, we got to play some things we don't normally get to play. Like "Easy to Blame" which is so much fun and I want to play it all the time.

I am currently looking for a new drummer, though. So send me a note if you or someone you know might be interested.

Shawn, me, and the Acadia pole.

Set list for Acadia 4/26/13

  • Flavor
  • Can't Even Tell
  • A Story
  • Blind
  • Float
  • Easy to Blame
  • Beg, Borrow, or Steal
  • Salt
  • Adore

(Writing out this set list now, I just realized that we also had "Good to Know" down but didn't play it. Guess I missed it. Oops.)

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

On Boston And People

It’s always amazing to me, after a tragedy like what happened in Boston yesterday, how quickly one’s life can be forever changed. Things just happen and there is nothing you can do to stop it. People were going to run a marathon and people were going to watch them do it and cheer them on and then that happens and your life is changed. Even if you survived. Even if you were completely unharmed – you’ve now got this story to tell. You were there. You saw it. You know what is sounded like. You know what the smell was in the air. And it probably changed you in some way. However small or big. Whether a certain smell or sight will bring you back to that moment, or whether you are now walking on prosthetics.

I just don’t understand and can never understand why these things happen – and I guess that’s a good thing. I don’t want to understand why someone would do this. I don’t want to have that mindset. When something awful like this happens, my first thought is not to wish for revenge…but to at first feel great sadness, then my heart swells to a thousand times bigger watching rescuers and other civilians helping and people sending thoughts and wishing love on everyone…and then I feel so grateful that I am okay and my loved ones are okay for today.

I do get scared. I went to the theater to see The Hobbit back in December. It was the first time I had been in a theater since the Aurora shootings and, I admit, my eyes darted towards the exit doors every few minutes. I think about these things happening in any super crowded setting I am in. I even worry about disgruntled co-workers.

But, I am a natural worrier. It is what I do.

I try not to be scared, though. I try to make an effort. I still do things and I still will. I’m not going to become a shut-in or anything (although sometimes that lifestyle sounds incredibly appealing – though how do they live financially?).

Yesterday, I was feeling incredibly blue. Another one of those “what is wrong with the world today???” moments. There seems to be so many of those lately. And then I got home from work – a little later than normal due to a work commitment – and my husband had already been home and was off walking Robbie. I went out to the check the mail and saw them heading down the road towards the house. I watched them and my heart swelled again. And then my dog – from halfway down the block – picked up his pace and by the time he was near our house, he was pulling and leaping towards me. He looked so happy. And I had to fight back tears because I was so happy.  Because I have them. And I was so happy to see them. And they were so happy to see me.

And these are the people (and animals) in the world. These are the good ones. And they outnumber the bad. And it's important to remember that. And as Mr. Rogers’ said:

Friday, April 12, 2013

Things I Love Right Now

1. Solo John Lennon
I used to adore The Beatles. Now, I have somewhat of a hardtime with them. But solo John Lennon is just so well done and timeless. I love the simplicity of most of his songs. Whether he’s just strumming along and earnestly with all of his heart singing love songs to Yoko Ono or heavily pounding out big, drawn out piano chords, I just love it. His voice is chilling. I really don’t have to say anymore, do I? This is John Lennon. The guy could write a song.

2. Fast Getaways Tumblr
Full disclosure, this is my husband’s tumblr. But I love the idea and think it’s hilarious. I mean, why do people back into parking spots for no good reason? When doing so, they usually get in the way of everyone else because they have to complete readjust their vehicle to back into a spot that isn’t meant to be backed into.Check it out here:

3. Eli’s Food and Cocktails in NE Minneapolis
This is my new favorite restaurant. Great food (with a ton of vegetarian options), reasonably priced, good drinks, great atmosphere. And their Tuna Tataki appetizer is THE BEST. It’s a great place to go for a sit down meal or just for some drinks.

4. Louise Brealey
I know Lousie Brealey as Molly Hooper from Sherlock. Molly is such a wonderful character and she plays her so well. But, what I didn’t know is that acting is not her full-time job. She’s a writer. And a good one. And she’s super funny on Twitter. You should follow her. She’s totally my latest girl crush that was solidified with this tweet:

5. “The Thing About Things”
Amanda Palmer just released a live version of a new song she recorded at a show last weekend. It’s beautiful and I already spoke of it in a previous post. But the line “the thing about things is that they can start meaning things nobody actually said” is brilliant and I wish I wrote it. That’s all. Wait, no. That's not all. She also performed this song that night that I've never heard before and is equally as wonderful:

6. Rilo Kiley’s “My Name Is Not Laura”
I don’t know if this is the real name of the song as it is the hidden track (I really hate hidden tracks) on their new b-sides and rarities collection, RKives, and is only listed as “Untitled”. But I think “My Name Is Not Laura” is a good title. There’s nothing particularly special about this song, just that it is very very very old school Rilo Kiley and very cute and I really like it. I liked it enough that I edited it and cut out the 12 minutes of silence that proceeds it so I can have a normal version to listen. And I named it “My Name Is Not Laura”. Of course, it's not anywhere that I can find online, so I guess you just have to get the album.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Happy Days

I just got some incredibly good news.

These past 7, 8 months I've had this incredibly stressful, nagging, potentially life altering thing hanging around. I can't even say what it was because I am so ridiculously superstitious that I'm afraid if I talk too openly about it that it will all come crashing down. But, I'm told whatever that thing was, it's over. And life can move on.


I am so happy.

AND, work called a snow day. That NEVER happens in the real world. But it happened today.

AND, The National released another awesome track from their upcoming album.

AND, I have an amazing husband and the best dog.

Feeling like a lucky girl right now. Going to bask in that for a bit and be okay with it and not be superstitious and weird about enjoying a moment.

So let's dance.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Long Weekend

Wow. That was a weekend.

Seriously. I haven't had one like this in a long time. Maybe it's the weather finally letting up (although the forecast says snow and cold again later this week. ugh.) but I finally got out of the house. A lot.

I also am currently on the tail end of a 4 day weekend.  A little much needed breather after a very stressful winter.

Thursday night: I had a show. The first one in over a month. We played at The Nomad, kicking off The Broken Bicycles month long residency there. It was fun show. Full band. New song. Few mistakes (I'm getting better with that).

Setlist for The Nomad 4/4/2013

  • Good
  • Adore
  • The Woods
  • Lens
  • Flavor
  • Blind (first time played!)
  • Float
  • Beg, Borrow, or Steal
  • Introvert

Friday: I spent my first day of my mini vacation tired and slightly hung over from being out late at the show the night before. It wasn't ideal. There was a lot I wanted to get done. Instead, I'm pretty sure I sat on the internet all day. I think. I honestly don't remember.

I did spend part of the day with the new Rilo Kiley album, RKives. Although, calling it new seems weird since it's a collection of b-sides and rarities - most of which I've already heard. But it's nice to have official versions of them.

But Friday night was wonderful. One of those really great nights where you're just in that perfect mood and everything just goes exactly as it should. The Husband and I started out at Eli's (the NE Minneapolis location) for appetizers and drinks. We love Eli's. A really excellent menu, reasonably priced, with a great atmosphere. Then we headed over to The Local for dessert. We had the chocolate s'mores cake. OMG. So good. 

But the highlight of the evening was seeing the fantastic Bethany Larson and the Bee's Knees play a 2 hour set at the Dakota Jazz Club. These guys are the real deal. Bethany has one of my favorite voices and the Dakota was a perfect place to showcase it. We got a really great booth in the corner with a perfect view. Everybody was there to listen. Just a really wonderful venue. I highly recommend seeing some music there. (I'm also going to try to get myself a show there). 


Saturday was another especially tired and groggy day after, once again, being out until 2 and then not sleeping. I was due to have a band practice/recording session, but it got cancelled at the last minute. This came as somewhat of a relief as I just was not feeling it. Sometimes when you're not feeling it, it's best to not force it. 

So The Husband and I took the dog for a walk around the lake and then I spent the day trying not to fall asleep. 

I also recorded a quick demo to my iPhone and put it up on Soundcloud. This is just a little new song that was bubbling up. It is nowhere near fully realized, but it's something.

We once again went out that night to a house party to celebrate the birthdays of two of my friends. And we brought Robbie. It was his first party and I was a bit nervous, but he is such a good dog. We are so lucky to have him. He was a little social butterfly soaking in the attention. He got to spend some time with the house dog and figure out the house cat. And the party was super fun. 

And then Sunday. Once again, tired and hungover from being out until 2 and not sleeping. But, I had nothing to do all day, which was nice. And Shawn stopped by and dropped of a disc of all the songs we've been working on remixed with some added touches and it's so good and I am so excited about it and can't wait to share them. We have one more song to record and a few little things to fix, but the EP is almost finished. 

And then Sunday night I was watching YouTube videos from Amanda Palmer's show on Saturday night and she debuted a new song called "The Thing About Things" that is just gorgeous and has a killer line in it that, my god, must feel so amazing to have written: "the thing about things is that they can start meaning things nobody actually said" Love. It. Here's the song:


Now it's Monday and my mini vacation is almost over. But I woke up this morning to find that The National have posted a new song from their upcoming album and, of course, it's fantastic. 

I heard that the new album features guest vocals from both Sharon Van Etten and Nona Marie (from Dark Dark Dark) so yeah, pretty sure this album is going to be making my Favorite Albums of 2013 list.

And so now it's time for lunch and back to songwriting. Working on some piano songs....